After thumping India in the first Test in Adelaide, Australia went down in two of the next three games to lose their third successive Test series to India.
In stern contrast to India, Australia had their key players available throughout the series, barring David Warner, who was their most notable absentee in the first two Tests. The hosts, however, failed to deliver on a consistent basis as a unit, thereby allowing India to clinch onto the key moments.
Here’s the series ratings for the 14 Australia players who featured in the series, similar to the one for India (insert link). Tell us what you make of it.
Joe Burns: 3/10
63 runs @ 21, 50s: 1, HS: 51*
A solid unbeaten 51 to seal the run-chase in the series-opener in Adelaide promised much, but Joe Burns failed miserably in Melbourne with scores of 0 and 4 to be subsequently left out of the remaining two Tests. He has stood strong for the Brisbane Heat in the ongoing BBL 2020/21 since then, but as far as Test cricket is concerned, it’s a tough road ahead for the Queenslander.
David Warner: 3/10
67 runs @ 16.75, 50s: 0, HS: 48
Coming into the final two Tests, you’d have expected David Warner to make a significant impact with the bat despite being not 100 percent fit. However, at the two venues where he’d scored significantly big earlier, Warner twice fell chasing a wide-ish one outside the off-stump from Mohammed Siraj, before succumbing to off-spin in each of the second innings.
Will Pucovski: 7/10
72 runs @ 36, 50s: 1, HS: 62
It has been a difficult beginning to international cricket for the 22-year-old, who’d copped a concussion blow in the A game that preceded the series before finally making it to the XI in Sydney. However, a shoulder injury not too long after limited him to just one game in the series. His steady half-century on debut featured some glittering strokes, and the accolades from senior cricketers give enough evidence of a future star in the making.
Marcus Harris: 4/10
43 runs @ 21.50, HS: 38
Harris did get his eye in during his two innings in Brisbane, but as has been the story of his career, he failed to make it big. A lapse in concentration after getting set has been a common occurrence for the left-hander – not the best attributes for any Test opener. It remains to be seen how long his latest comeback to the Test side will last.
Marnus Labuschagne: 9/10
425 runs @ 53.25, 50s: 2, 100s: 1, HS: 108
Easily the most consistent batsman of the series, Labuschagne piled on runs against the Indian bowlers with great ease to set up par scores for the hosts throughout. After failing to make his starts count in the first two Tests, Labuschagne registered scores of 91, 73 and 108 in his next three outings. His numbers since walking in as a concussion replacement for Steve Smith at Lord’s: 1616 runs at 73.45 with five hundreds and eight fifties – well ahead of anyone else in the period.
Most Test balls faced in Australia since 2018:
🇦🇺 Marnus Labuschagne ➜ 2,586
🇮🇳 CHETESHWAR PUJARA ➜ 2,177 🙌
🇦🇺 Travis Head ➜ 1,672
🇦🇺 Steve Smith ➜ 1,471
🇦🇺 David Warner ➜ 1,439
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) January 19, 2021
Steve Smith: 7.5/10
313 runs @ 44.71, 50s: 2, 100s: 1, HS: 131
It was an indifferent start to Australia’s premier batsman in the series, who managed 1, 1*, 0 and 8 in his first four outings. Then came redemption in Sydney, where it needed a brilliant direct-hit to end his fine 131 run-knock. Smith eventually finished as the second-highest run-scorer in the series.
Matthew Wade: 3/10
173 runs @ 21.62, HS: 45
Wade crossed the 30-run mark in four of his eight outings, but failed to make it count big on each occasion. His shot selection was questionable more than once, most notably against spin-bowling as he looked to be overly aggressive against them, giving the visitors an opening.
Travis Head: 3/10
62 runs @ 20.67, HS: 38
Much like Wade and Harris, Head’s undoing was brought about by a lapse in concentration more than once. Barring his MCG hundred against New Zealand last home season, it hasn’t been a great run for the left-hander in Tests and that opens up a serious competition for the middle-order slots in the near future.
Australia in their last 10 Tests against India at home:
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 19, 2021
Cameron Green: 6/10
236 runs @ 33.71, 50s: 1, HS: 84; Combined bowling returns: 44-7-118-0
Green’s numbers with the ball and bat in his debut series don’t quite make the best of readings, but in terms of skills, he’s definitely one to look out for in future. His best came in the second innings in Sydney, where his steady 84 elevated Australia’s lead significantly. In all fairness, it was the bowlers brilliance that got the better of him, rather than him making poor shot selections.
Tim Paine: 5/10
204 runs @ 40.80, 50s: 2, HS: 73*
The skipper was Australia’s third-highest run-scorer in the series and out of those key cameos, his unbeaten 73 in Adelaide could be regarded as one of his best of his career. However, Paine was on the receiving end for his captaincy decisions and the missed opportunities behind the stumps, not to forget the on-field conduct in Sydney which copped severe criticism. The poor decision-making on the DRS front only escalated the woes further. The series result does put a serious question over his future in the side.
Pat Cummins: 9.5/10
21 wickets @ 20.04, BBI: 4/21
Easily the standout performer of the series from either side, Pat Cummins yet again lived up to the reputation of the top-ranked Test bowler in the world. Throughout the series, he struck crucial blows to get his side back in the game and finished as the leading-wicket taker in the series. The highlight was easily his aggressive, yet disciplined bowling against the solid Cheteshwar Pujara, India’s most experienced batsman, whom he dismissed on five out of eight occasions.
Pat Cummins in the #AUSvIND series:
✨ 21 wickets – leading wicket-taker
✨ 162.1 overs
✨ 20.04 average
✨ Player of the Series
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 19, 2021
Mitchell Starc: 4/10
11 wickets @40.72, BBI: 4/53
As expected, Starc relished the pink-ball in Adelaide, delivering a crucial spell in the first innings to dent India’s progress significantly. However, he failed to recreate that magic thereafter, with inconsistent lengths being a feature of his bowling. The Indian batsmen found him easy to score off at various junctures and his returns of 16-0-75-0 in the second innings in Brisbane just summed up the misery.
Josh Hazlewood: 8.5/10
17 wickets @ 19.35, BBI: 5/8
In about half-an-hour on the third morning in Adelaide, Josh Hazlewood won Australia the game with one of the best fast-bowling spells ever. With impeccable accuracy aided by pace and at times deceptive bounce, he formed a perfect pairing with Pat Cummins to keep the Indian batsmen in check. Hazlewood registered two of the three five-fors in the series.
Nathan Lyon: 4/10
9 wickets @ 55.11, BBI: 3/72
One of the two leading spinners in Test cricket at present, alongside Ravichandran Ashwin, Nathan Lyon’s lone significant moment in the series was perhaps him receiving his 100th Test cap. His failure to get enough wickets, a rare occurrence in recent times, put significant workload and pressure on the three quicks. His duel with Rishabh Pant presented some of the most gripping moments in the series and him winning that battle on Day 5 in Sydney did tilt the balance significantly. However, glaringly, the defensive bowling and field-placements in Brisbane might’ve hurt his team’s chances.